Fountain County, Indiana
Fountain County lies in the western part of the U.S. state of Indiana on the east side of the Wabash River. The county was officially established in 1826 and was the 53rd in Indiana. The county seat is Covington.
|Fountain County, Indiana|
Fountain County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
|Founded||April 1, 1826|
|Named for||James Fontaine|
|• Total||397.88 sq mi (1,031 km2)|
|• Land||395.66 sq mi (1,025 km2)|
|• Water||2.22 sq mi (6 km2), 0.56%|
|• Density||44/sq mi (16.82/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC−5/−4|
|Footnotes: Indiana county number 23|
FIPS code 045
According to the 2000 census, its population was 17,954; the 2010 population was 17,240. The county has two incorporated cities and six incorporated towns with a total population of about 9,700, as well as many small unincorporated communities. It is divided into eleven townships which provide local services. An interstate highway, two U.S. Routes and five Indiana state roads cross the county, as does a major railroad line.
The state of Indiana was established in 1816. The first non-indigenous settler in the future Fountain County is thought to have been a Mr. Forbes, who arrived here in early 1823 and was soon followed by others. The legislative act creating Fountain County was passed on December 30, 1825, setting an effective date of April 1, 1826. The county's boundaries have remained unchanged since that time. It was named for Major James Fontaine of Kentucky who was killed at Harmar's Defeat (near modern Fort Wayne, Indiana) on October 22, 1790, during the Northwest Indian War.
The first Fountain County courthouse was a two-story frame building constructed in Covington in 1827; Abraham Griffith submitted the winning bid of $335.[n 1] In 1829, plans were made for a larger courhouse building, but then an act of the legislature called for the county seat to be moved. In the end it was decided that the county seat should remain in Covington, and the brick courthouse was completed in 1833. A third courthouse was commissioned in 1856, and was completed in 1857 at a cost of $33,500.[n 2] The circuit court met for the first time in the new building in January 1860, and the building was largely destroyed by fire the same day. Isaac Hodgson was the architect for the rebuilt courthouse, which was first occupied in January 1861; the total cost, including the reconstruction, totaled $54,624.05.[n 3] The current courthouse was built in 1936–37 at a cost of $246,734;[n 4] it replaced the previous building which had been declared unsafe. The 1937 building was constructed by the Jacobson Brothers of Chicago; the architects were Louis R. Johnson and Walter Scholar of Lafayette. The courthouse walls display murals painted by Eugene Francis Savage and others from 1937 to 1940, covering 2,500 square feet (232 m2) of wall space and depicting the settlement of western Indiana.
Digging on the Wabash and Erie Canal began in 1832 and worked southwest; it reached Lafayette by 1842. In 1846 it reached Covington, and by 1847 traffic was moving through the county via the canal. Completion of the county's first railroad line in the 1850s heralded an end to the canal's usefulness, and in 1875 the last canal boat passed through Covington.
The first railway line through the county was the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway (later the Wabash Railroad) which was built from the east across the northern part of the county and reached Attica in 1856; it continued west through Warren County and reached the Illinois state line the following year. The Indianapolis, Crawfordsville and Danville Railroad (later the Indiana, Bloomington and Western Railway), was started in 1855, but the general state of the economy halted construction in 1858. It was completed by another owner in 1870, and traffic started in 1871. It passed through Covington, Veedersburg and Hillsboro.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 397.88 square miles (1,030.5 km2), of which 395.66 square miles (1,024.8 km2) (or 99.44%) is land and 2.22 square miles (5.7 km2) (or 0.56%) is water. Elevations range from 770 feet (230 m) above sea level in the northeastern part of the county to 465 feet (142 m) in the southwest where the Wabash River leaves the county. The county is within the drainage basin of the Wabash River, sloping to the southwest. It is covered with loess ranging in thickness from a few inches to more than 7 feet (2.1 m). Approximately 84 percent of the county's land is use for agriculture.
The Portland Arch Nature Preserve and the Miller-Campbell Memorial Tract, a 435-acre (176 ha) preserve managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, are located adjacent to the Wabash River.
- Warren County (northwest)
- Vermillion County (southwest)
- Parke County (south)
- Montgomery County (east).
- Stringtown - an abandoned mining settlement south of Covington
Interstate 74 runs east–west through the middle of Fountain County. US Route 136 follows the same general east–west route of I-74 through the county; in the eastern part it runs on the south side of the interstate, but crosses to the north side between Veedersburg and Covington. US Route 41 runs north–south through the county, passing through Attica and Veedersburg.
Three east–west state roads cross the county. State Road 28 enters Attica from Warren County and crosses the north end of the county. State Road 32 enters the middle of the county from Perrysville to the west and passes through Fountain County on its way to Crawfordsville to the east. State Road 234, further to the south, enters from Cayuga to the west and passes east through Kingman. Two north–south state roads run through the county. State Road 55 passes through Attica and shares the route of US Route 41 running goes south. At Rob Roy it turns to run southeast through Newton. State Road 341 starts at State Road 28 in the north and runs south, ending at State Road 234.
Climate and weatherEdit
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Fountain County is in the humid continental climate region of the United States along with most of Indiana. Its Köppen climate classification is Dfa, meaning that it is cold, has no dry season, and has a hot summer. In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Covington have ranged from a low of 15 °F (−9 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in August 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.80 inches (46 mm) inches in February to 4.53 inches (115 mm) inches in June.
From 1950 through 2009, six tornadoes were reported in Fountain County, causing $25 million in damage but no fatalities.
Three public bodies administer Fountain County schools:
- Attica Consolidated School Corporation (northern Fountain County) – served 964 students during the 2009–2010 school year. It runs Attica Elementary and Attica Junior–Senior High Schools.
- Covington Community School Corporation (western Fountain County) – served 1,012 students during 2009–2010. It runs Covington Elementary, Covington Middle, and Covington High Schools.
- Southeast Fountain School Corporation (eastern Fountain County) – served 1,279 students during 2009–2010. It runs Southeast Fountain Elementary and Fountain Central Junior–Senior High Schools.
Daniel Wolsey Voorhees was born in Ohio but was raised in Fountain County. He attended school in Veedersburg, graduated from college in 1849, was admitted to the bar, and began practicing law in Covington; he moved to Terre Haute in 1857. He served as a United States Senator (1877–1897), and was known as "the tall sycamore of the Wabash". He died in Washington in 1897 and is buried in Terre Haute.
John Myers was born in Covington in 1927. He graduated from Covington High School, then from Indiana State University in Terre Haute; he served in the United States Army and then served in the US House of Representatives 1967–1997.
The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana and the Indiana Code. The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all spending and revenue collection. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms and are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes and service taxes. In 2010, the county budgeted approximately $9.8 million for the district's schools and $3.2 million for other county operations and services, for a total annual budget of approximately $13 million.
A board of commissioners comprises the county's executive body. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered four–year terms. One commissioner serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue and managing day-to-day functions of the county government.
The county has other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and be residents of the county.
Each township has a trustee who administers rural fire protection and ambulance service, provides poor relief and manages cemetery care, among other duties. The trustee is assisted by a three-member township board. The trustees and board members are elected to four-year terms.
Based on the 2000 census, Fountain County is part of Indiana's 4th congressional district and Indiana's 8th congressional district; Indiana Senate district 23; and Indiana House of Representatives district 42.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 17,240 people, 6,935 households, and 4,787 families residing in the county. The population density was 43.6 inhabitants per square mile (16.8/km2). There were 7,865 housing units at an average density of 19.9 per square mile (7.7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.5% white, 0.2% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.8% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.6% were German, 14.4% were Irish, 14.3% were American, and 12.5% were English.
Of the 6,935 households, 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.0% were non-families, and 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 41.6 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $51,696. Males had a median income of $44,118 versus $28,462 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,949. About 8.9% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
- A $335 capital expense in 1827 would be roughly equivalent to $200,000 in 2009.
- A $33,500 capital expense in 1857 would be roughly equivalent to $10,900,000 in 2009.
- A $54,624 capital expense in 1861 would be roughly equivalent to $17,600,000 in 2009.
- A $246,734 capital expense in 1936 would be roughly equivalent to $17,300,000 in 2009.
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